Today is Anisette Day so the perfect time to drink anise liqueurs! We tell you all about anisette and give you some recommendations of French anisettes but also an Australian one.
WHAT IS ANISETTE?
Anisette, also known as Anis, is a anise-flavoured liquor that is found in most Mediterannean countries such as in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Lebanon, Cyprus, Palestine and Israel.
It is colourless, and because it contains sugar, is sweeter than dry anise flavoured spirits (e.g. absinthe).
The most traditional style of anisette is that produced by means of distilling aniseed, and is differentiated from those produced by simple maceration by the inclusion of the word distilled on the label.
And while Pastis is a similar-tasting liqueur that is prepared in similar fashion and sometimes confused with anisette, it employs a combination of both aniseed and liquorice root extracts.
WHERE DOES THE ANISE TASTE COME FROM?
The “Aniseed” flavour used in the production of Anise and Anisette is derived from two basic sources:
Anise (Pimpinella Anisum), a native of the Orient now cultivated in many countries of the world, is a small seed from an annual shrub which grows to about 35-40cm high under cultivation. The volatile oil is recovered from the Anise Seed by steam distillation and is of very high quality. This is the flavour which is most often used in liqueurs..
Anise Étoilé (Illicium Verum) is the fruit of a stately evergreen tree which grows to a height of 15 metres and is a native of South East Asia. The fruit has a star-like shape and exhibits a characteristic Anise odour.
WHICH anisette shall we drink for Anisette Day?
Did you know that there was an Australian version of Anisette?
According to Baitz, their Baitz Anisette is the perfect liqueur for Anisette Day. Produced by this prize-winning company, this anise-flavoured liqueur is clear and colourless and becomes cloudy when it is mixed. Not to be mixed with Anise though because it is lower in alcohol and is sweeter in taste.
They recommend that you drink it with glass or slightly chilled. Alternatively, they suggest that you drink it in a cocktail: the Anisette Collins!
30ml Baitz Anisette
30ml London No. 1 gin
30ml lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
Shake all ingredients and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
Top up with soda, garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint.
Manu from Cerbaco says:
I’ve always been a fan of Pastis, in Summer, on the terrace, with moderation! I discovered the Henri Bardouin Pastis in Corsica with family and it is a Pastis Grand Cru, artisanal, and full of flavour.
I recommend it for this simple reason: the big anisette brands use a neutral alcohol, 5 or 6 plants and addititves (sugar, colouring…)
The Henri Bardouin Pastis uses a wine based alchol and 65 plants, most of which are grown in Haute-Provence, notably on the Lure mountain. It results in a smoothness and an enjoyable taste, which is refreshing and delicious!
Once again, Bardouin is different. Its aromatic richness allows it to be diluted by 5 and 10 parts of water for one part of Pastis, without losing its taste pleasure!
For festive occasions, Pastis can be drunk at a dillution of 5 times. For a lighter apéro, diluting the Bardouin 10 times doesn’t cause any issues, without compromising the taste. Accompanied by green or black olives, cherry tomatoes or charcuterie, we enjoy! With a game of pétanque, you could almost hear the cicadas!
Mikael Gillard de Mind Spirits Co. says:
A sometimes forgotten anisette…. I recommend the anisette from Pontarlier. France’s Absinthe capital in the 1900s. More than 100 distilleries specialised in the production of Absinthe, the most popular alcohol in 1900. Switzerland and France have always disputed who was the creator of absinthe.
When absinthe production was banned in France (during the 1st World War), dozens of distillers in Pontarlier (Juras) decided to try to survive with anisette.
I recommend that you try the following! A treasure of our heritage…Emile Pernot, Armand-Guy for example.
Pernod Ricard produces the two most well-known French brands of anisette.
Whether lengthened, cocktail or original, Pastis de Marseille is constantly reinventing itself with Ricard. Born under the Marseille sun in 1932, Ricard is a Provencal aperitif that has become a staple of French tables thanks to a unique recipe unchanged since its creation.
It has a distinct fresh taste of liquorice and subtle Provence herbs. Aged in large barrels in the open air, a slight seaside flavour is imparted by the salt spray that licks the barrels. Ricard’s ingredients – star anise, liquorice extracts and aromatic plants – are carefully selected to ensure the quality of every bottle. Ricard owes its reputation to its original recipe, which remains a closely guarded secret to this day.
Ricard was created by Paul Ricard, at the age of just 23 in 1932, to perfectly reproduce the flavour and purity of anise. He also invented the first French “long drink” – one-part Ricard to five parts water.
With more than 200 years of existence, Pernod is the oldest French brand of aniseed. Famous since 1805 for its spirits with absinthe extracts which were appreciated by artists and poets. Over a century later it had success with Pernod anise, an aperitif based on star anise with a fresh and original flavour, that was created in 1926, after Pernod Absinthe was banned in France. This spirit is part of the aniseed aperitif category.
Renowned for its subtle flavour, this spirit is derived from a combination of star anise cultivated in Southern China and an aromatic bouquet of herbs, which gives it the smooth coriander and mint tasting notes it is famous for. Pernod’s taste comes from the distillation of plants and not from maceration which is the method used for the preparation of pastis.
Pernod is a perfect apéritif drink to be enjoyed with water or mixed with soda. It is also a great cooking ingredient, providing a nice anise flavour to fish/seafood dishes or desserts.
What’s your favourite Anisette and how do you like to drink it? Happy Anisette Day!
Do you like French spirits? Read our article about cognac.
Or are you more into wine? Read our article about French wine importers in Australia.